First case of chikungunya confirmed in Charlotte area

There is a confirmed case of chikungunya in the Charlotte area.

KANNAPOLIS, N.C.— Health officials confirmed a Cabarrus County resident has tested positive for the chikungunya virus. The person was bitten by a mosquito while traveling to the Caribbean a few weeks ago.

This is the 10th Case of chikingunya in North Carolina; there are nearly 250 cases nationwide, with all but two of those contracted overseas.

Bill Hardy, who lives in the Tampa, Florida area, was infected after being bitten by a mosquito on his trip to the Dominican Republic last month.

"After we got back from our trip, Monday, I started feeling old. In other words, I started feeling like I was 95-years-old in my joints," explained Hardy. "Made me feel like I needed a walker."

Extreme joint pain and headaches are the chief symptoms of chikungunya. It's transmitted through mosquito bites. So far, there is just the one case in Cabarrus County. However, Public Health Officer William Pilkington said the county is preparing for more cases to start popping up.

"The liklihood is we are going to see a continuing spread of this," said Pilkington. "All of us are going to get bit by mosquitoes at some point. If we limit the bites, we limit the transmission."

Antonio Porretta of Mosquito Patrol offered tips to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Spray your property for insects
  • Eliminate standing water, like kiddie pools and bird baths
  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Use repellent on your skin

There is no vaccine or cure for chikungunya. The symptoms usually last about a week. The CDC recommends rest, fluids and over-the-counter medicine such as Tylenol or Advil.


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